Here are some reasons why I love The Wall Street Journal’s “Review” section, a weekly section in the WSJ published each Saturday that covers “books, culture, science, commerce, humor, politics, language, technology, art and ideas.”
1. Fusion of interesting news and opinion.
- This is what makes Review so good. The news from the stories alone is engaging enough to be read as a hard news story, but writers add in their own opinion and write the stories in the more interesting (in my opinion) magazine-style of features and profiles. It’s a nice break from the dryness of hard news.
- Ex: A review of Unnatural Selection, a book about the abortion genocide of girls in India and China.
2. You don’t have to have a Ph.D. to understand the articles.
- Respected newspapers and magazines shouldn’t dumb themselves down, but it’s nice to actually be able to understand what an article is about. Review’s articles, while still being thought-provoking and well-written, can be understood by a wider audience.
- Ex: A profile of Soleio Cuervo, the web designer at Facebook who helped come up with the “Like” button.
3. Excellent commentary on current news.
- Evgeny Morozov wrote a great article about how the British government should exercise caution when considering shutting down modes of BlackBerry communication and using facial-recognition software to combat the rioters that have struck British cities.
4. Great feature stories.
- The front page story for this week’s publication of Review is about the remarkable teachers at charter schools and the need to involve less remarkable teachers and their unions to reform education in a more sustainable way.
5. Shorter articles.
- Most of the articles in Review are relatively short. I appreciate how they respect my time with their more concise articles, unlike many newspapers.
6. Cool history stories.
- Learning about 17th century sugar and slave trades would normally be boring, but J.R. McNeil’s review of the book The Sugar Barons provides an interesting look at the ruthless men who threw unruly workers into boiling pots of sugar and kept Mozart as a music tutor for their children.
7. Pop culture commentary.
- If you find Review’s articles a little heavy, there are always pop culture articles.
- Ex: An article on the true appeal of the new Spider-Man, who is a black and Hispanic teenager named Miles Morales.
8. Creative sections and graphics.
- A newspaper section that is text dominated gets intimidating, but Review mixes it up to keep its readers engaged.
- Ex: My personal favorite, “A Week in Ideas” is a compilation of studies from fields ranging from health, to technology to social psychology. This week Christopher Shea covered a study of a safety system that could help avoid car crashes by monitoring electrical impulses in our brain and a study that shows how the size of our eating utensils affects the amount of food we eat.
- Ex: “Week in Words” by Erin McKean, explains unusual words that appeared in The Wall Street Journal in the last week, like “fear gauge” and “prayer-palooza.”
9. Joe Queenan’s column, “Moving Targets.”
- Ranges from why we shouldn’t be saddened that the blog ”A Gay Girl in Damascus” is fake to why people need to keep their shirt on during the summer.
10. Credible writers.
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